Let's start this week's blog with a brief reflection on the changes to the State Fair west entrance. I did post a longer review on the listserv which many of you have perhaps read, so I don't want to belabor this. To synopsize the listserv conversation, I think most people were generally positive about the changes once you got inside the fair, but some were less then enthused about the new Buford entrance. It felt a little like there wasn't alot of thought put into the actual approach/entrance, especially navigating the parking lot to get to the actual admission gates.

My general take on it from our visit last Saturday night was that I agree with these observations, and also appreciated that the larger issue being addressed by the State Fair in this change of entrances was to facilitate mass transit, in particular all of the buses now streaming past the old Commonwealth entrance. That seems to be working very well and we all want to encourage mass transit. The combination of increased bus access coupled with closing the west entrances down to cars means a significant decrease in traffic around the neighborhood, at least from my perspective. That's good news. The downside for me is that the Buford approach is a little less fun. You used to feel a special excitement and anticipation walking toward the heart of the Midway which is not present yet in the Buford experience.

The Fair folks have welcomed feedback and promised to change on the fly if possible. My guess is that after trying out the new configuration for a year, they will make modifications to it that will enhance our experience because they want as many people as possible to come back as often as possible. That said, the percentage of attendees coming to the fair through the Buford gate is probably relatively small compared to the other entrances, so that needs to be kept in mind as changes are considered and implemented. You can be a part of that conversation and suggest solutions by emailing the fair. They've paid attention to emails so far so if you've got something to say to our neighbors to the east, share.

It also needs to be said that many neighbors who expressed themselves on listserv and in conversations I've had, love the fair and think the changes represent a small fly in the big gooey, sweet, noisy, exciting ointment that is our annual end-of-summer get-together. Party on, we've still got 5 days.

Speaking of parties, if you want to take a break from all that, head south tonight (Aug. 27) to the Urban Growler Brewing Company for their official grand opening bash from 5-10pm. The mayor and our city councilman, Russ Stark, will be there to blow the first foam off the barrel (okay, I don't know if that's actually going to happen, but you get the idea) and there will no doubt be other dignitaries from high and low places. (Yours truly will be in attendance, you be the judge.) Prizes, music, specials...gonna be fun, why not bike over? Beautiful night for a walk or ride.

I hope you have Friday, Sept. 19, circled on your calendar for the Foundation's 15th Anniversary bash - also at the Urban Growler - & Bang brewery from 7-10pm. We'll have music (Sweet Rhubarb & Lucy Michelle's Field Trip,) St.AP trivia team challenge and a special program at 8pm to thank the community for surpassing the $1M mark in pledges to our permanent fund. That is reason enough to celebrate, so stop by and join in the fun.

More party thanks...the Park B4 Dark summer series is over and 2 out of 3 good weather days ain't bad. After the monsoons of June departed, we got pretty lucky and had nice crowds for the retail/neighborhood appreciation events. Special thanks to all the merchants, MetroIBA, Sunrise Banks, the Foundation, and Ross Johnson for corralling all the musicians who provided the sweet music on the Bistro patio. Also thanks to Tim & Tom for rocking their lot on the west end. The food was tremendous, the shopping plentiful (you can find great deals and products throughout the year) and the vibe very positive. It will definitely be back again next summer, 3rd Thursdays of June-August. Mark it down.

A broken water main shut off the flow for neighbors around Langford Park for a while over the weekend. I don't know how limited the area affected was, but over here by the library we didn't notice.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the community blood drive on Tuesday Sept 2the day after Labor Day, from 2:00 - 7:00 PM at SAP Lutheran Church at 2323 Como Ave. You can set up a time by going online to redcrossblood.org and using zip code 55108 with the date or call Joy at 651 644-8833 or Michelle at 651 647-9526.

Interesting info provided by Wilder that gives a very detailed breakdown of our demographic profile. Check it out here.

St. Anthony Park Area Seniors is sponsoring a Miniature Golf Outing
When: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 
Time: Meet at Como Park Miniature Golf Course at 10 a.m. (meet at SAPUMC and car pool together or you can meet there) 
Cost: $5 for 18 holes 
Afterward: Como Park Grill (1341 Pascal Street) for lunch.
For more info contact Katherine Tondra

Did someone say "Monkey Bridge?!" This 
Thursday, August 28th, come down to Langford Park during the SAP Elementary School Open House and climb across the Boy Scouts' monkey bridge. The bridge will be set up near the school from 4-7pm. You can also check out the new Spider Tree Memorial playground, a wonderful sitting, balancing, open air clubhouse on the spot of its dear departed namesake. A new tradition begins!

Which reminds me, school is going to be starting soon, so please watch out for the kids in the neighborhood. Be respectful of the patrols and pay special attention to the possibility that the excitement of returning to classes will lead to unpredictable behavior near the streets. 

That's all for now. Take care of yourself and be a good neighbor.